The School of Natural Resources and Environment at the University of Michigan commits to host the First National Summit on 'Coping with Climate Change,' a conference that will evaluate the country's progress to date and set the agenda for a series of 5-10 regional and sectoral workshops to be held in the following years. The regional workshops (e.g., Great Lakes, Pacific Northwest, and Mississippi Basin) and sectoral workshops (e.g., energy, agriculture, and health, insurance) will look at existing impact analyses and explore opportunities for communities, sectors, and governments to prepare for, cope with, and adapt to a changing climate. Each conference and workshop will produce a report of 'lessons learned' and management, planning and research options that should be pursued. This effort will culminate with a second national conference that integrates the strategies and recommendations drawn up by those workshops. SNRE commits to host the first conference and seeks support in funding the remaining workshops and the second national summit.
Planning for climate change is not only prudent; it also helps to underscore the seriousness of the global-warming problem to those who regrettably are not focused on the issue.
Global warming threatens dangerous disruptions in our natural systems and our lives. We must work aggressively to reduce emissions of heat-trapping gases. But we are already experiencing global warming because of human activity in the last century and are certain to experience warming in the coming decades no matter how successful our efforts to cut emissions now. Little analysis of how climate change will affect regions and sectors of the U.S. has been conducted. This is an urgent need. The School of Natural Resources and Environment will initiate this conversation with key stakeholders to examine what is known about the composite regional impacts of climate change and what management and policy options can help regions deal with changes in averages conditions as well as with extreme events.
The School of Natural Resources and Environment at the University of Michigan is uniquely positioned to train the next generation of interdisciplinary scholars to tackle the challenges of mitigating and coping with climate change. We have professors trained in 18 disciplines ranging from ecology to economics to engineering to public policy. All work together to find solutions to society's problems. The dean and several faculty members helped to coordinate the first National Assessment of the Impacts of Climate Change on the U.S. The new effort can build on those findings.
Anticipated Launch: January 2007
First Milestone: Host the first National Summit on Coping with Climate Change
This Summit will begin where the first National Assessment of the Impacts of Climate Change ended, and will move the national conversation to a discussion of available coping strategies. As the climate continues to change, planning for and management of human health, water, forests, agriculture, energy, and infrastructure will require different approaches than those employed for the last 100 years. Additionally, an increase in the frequency and intensity of extreme events (for example, fires, drought, and floods) creates a need for improved disaster management. The Summit will produce a 'toolkit' of adaptation options that should be explored and refined within regional and sectoral settings.
100 participants from key sectors affected by climate change (health, agriculture, forestry, water, energy, urban and coastal infrastructure) with representation from the planning, management, business, policy, and NGO communities.
- Planned and executed first National Summit on Coping with Climate Change on May 8-10, 2007. Approximately 150 stakeholders: scientists, policy makers, business, nonprofit, and academic experts, as well as students, participated in the breakout sessions over the three days. The group identified near- and longterm policy options to cope with climate change, needed research and development and technology development, as well as planning, managing, and regulating reforms.
- An additional 200 members of the public attended the public plenary sessions on each of the three days.
- Avoided 60 tons of CO2.
- Received two external sponsorships valuing ,000 from Gordon Moore Foundation and ,000 Frey Foundation. In sum, raised ,000 for the commitment and leveraged ,000 in-kind.
- Transcribing and publishing Summit proceedings by October 31, 2007. Distributing Summit proceedings to 120 stakeholder participants as well as policymakers. Briefings will be conducted on the Hill (9/24/07) to the World Bank (9/21/2007).